April 26, 2001

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Mona S. Rowe, 631 344-5056


Three Brookhaven Lab Physicists Named American Physical Society Fellows 

Upton, NY — Robert Pisarski, Samuel Aronson, and Serban Protopopescu (front to back in photo) — physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory  — have been named Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS), a professional organization for physicists with over 40,000 members. APS Fellowship is limited to no more than one half of one percent of its membership, and election for this honor indicates recognition by scientific peers for outstanding contributions to physics. Samuel Aronson’s citation on his Fellowship certificate reads, “For contributions to nuclear and particle physics, including the physics of neutral Kaons, and the leadership, design and construction of the major experiments, D0 ("D-zero") at Fermilab and PHENIX at RHIC.”

Kaons are elementary particles that Aronson studied to understand better how they fit into the Standard Model, the modern theory of fundamental physics. The D0 experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab in Chicago was successful, in 1995, in finding the top quark, an elementary particle whose existence helps to prove the Standard Model. And, since 1991, Aronson headed the effort to design, build, install and operate PHENIX, an experiment built by a collaboration of over 400 people from 50 laboratories and universities around the world. PHENIX is a detector at Brookhaven’s newly operating Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which may help scientists discover and study the quark-gluon plasma, a state of matter predicted to have existed in the earliest moments of the universe.

Aronson earned an A.B. in physics from Columbia University in 1964 and a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1968. From 1968 to 1977, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago and a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. He joined BNL in 1978. He was associate chair for the Physics Department in 1987, and deputy chair for the department in 1988. He became a senior physicist in 1991.

Robert Pisarski was cited “For important contributions to the study of QCD at high temperatures.” QCD stands for quantum chromodynamics, which is a theory of the nuclear interactions among quarks, the fundamental constituents of matter. Pisarski is studying the interaction of quarks at a trillion degrees at RHIC, a temperature at which they are expected to change into the quark-gluon plasma.

After earning a B.S. in physics from Yale University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Princeton University in 1979, Pisarski became a J.W. Gibbs Fellow at Yale in 1979. He then worked at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara, California, from 1981 to 1984, and at Fermilab from 1984 to 1989, before he joined Brookhaven in 1989. From 1997 to 1999, he was head of Brookhaven’s Nuclear Theory Group, and, from 1999-2000, he was deputy director for theory for the RIKEN/BNL Research Center. He was promoted to senior scientist in 2000.

Serban Protopopescu was cited “For his individual contributions and leadership in the discovery of the top quark at the D0 Experiment and for software simulation and algorithm development.” Protopopescu was one of the original proponents of Fermilab’s D0 particle detector  and was a leader in the development of software for the detector.

Protopopescu earned a B.A. in physics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972. He joined Brookhaven in 1972 as an assistant physicist, became an associate physicist in 1976, and physicist in 1988.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership led by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.

NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Samuel Aronson lives in Poquott,NY; Robert Pisarski resides in Aquebogue, NY and Brooklyn, NY; and Serban Protopopescu resides in Miller Place, NY.